Maryland evictions are lower than pre-Covid 19 pandemic levels but could Significantly climb in 2022

John P. Morrissey, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, said two important things the week of January 24, 2022:

  • The eviction applications for Failure to pay rent remain well below pre-pandemic levels,
  • and eviction applications such as tenant holding over, breach of lease, and wrongful detainer are higher than pre-pandemic.

Reduction of Failure to pay rent complaints.

In the many courts of the state of Maryland, the most common eviction cases are for non-payment of rent (Failure to pay rent); however, they have been dropping considerably in recent times. As of December 2021, there were approximately 23183 eviction filings for non-payment of rent, compared to 5900 complaints in 2019.

According to some members of the House Judiciary Committee like Morrissey, the decline in the number of rent default filings is due to two important factors: court closures and the federal rental assistance funding that was offered to residents of the state of Maryland a few months ago. Morrissey made this important statement during a virtual briefing the week of January 20, 2020. It’s quite surprising because the Governor of Maryland did not Extend the Eviction Moratorium a few months ago. In addition, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of evictions, which moved from over 22,500 in the fiscal year 2019 to approximately 5,546 in the fiscal year 2021.

The increased number of Tenant holding over, lease violations and Wrongful detainer complaints.

According to Morrissey, the number of evictions has risen from 558 in December 2020 to 4,231 in the first half of 2022 FY; and some of these cases are expected to be processed by March 7. Indeed, he points out that these delays would emanate from the fact that the courts’ activities are considerably limited due to the omicron variant. He also added: Despite the fact that new eviction cases due to non-payment of rent are taking time to be processed, other types of evictions applications previously in process are keeping the judiciary (courts) in the state of Maryland busy.

Indeed, in addition to failure to pay rent complaints, the Maryland courts are recording three other important types of complaints:

  • Tenant holdover: These complaints are filed when a tenant continues to pay rent even after the lease has expired. According to Morrissey, Maryland’s court of justice registered de446 tenants holding in December 2021, compared to 221 at the same period in 2019.
  • Breach of lease: A breach of lease occurs whenever either the Tenant or the homeowner breaches any of the provisions set out in the lease document. In December 2021, they were 247 breaches of lease filings compared to 122 in December 2019.
  • Wrongful detainer: This can happen when a person(s) is not listed on a lease but life in a property.

According to Gregory Countess, many landlords file tenant holding as a “substitute” when they can’t file a failure to pay rent case.

It is also important to note that lawmakers are working hard for the sake of tenants. Indeed, they are proposing many reforms that will protect tenants from eviction. As an example, we can name one that includes temporarily delaying an eviction when a tenant proves they’ve applied for rent relief.

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